Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wednesday Recommendation


I've always been one to get excited about holidays, and this year Easter falls on Brian's birthday! Two reasons to celebrate on April 24th!!!

I guess I started celebrating Easter a little early this year, but I found these cookies on sale last week. They are so adorable and only take 8 minutes to bake!

And the best part?

While your punching out the shapes, putting them on a baking sheet, or baking them in the oven....

You can be eating the "scraps" of dough around the edges and not feel guilty, because you aren't wasting any of the cookies.

This remaining dough serves no purpose other than to bring joy to the person baking the cookies.

Eating cookie dough=endless joy.

And the dough that is actually baked, instead of devoured, makes for really cute cookies!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Top Five Things I Love About Brian

Let me start by saying that this list could be much longer. It could almost be as long as the "Things that Annoy Me about Brian" list. Okay, kidding. But for time's sake and for reader's sake, I'm keeping it to Top Five. 

5. He's likeable.
There's a huge difference between loving and liking, and there's often times when relationships have the love, but are lacking the like. I like being around him, spending time with him, sitting at bars with him, laughing with him. I don't think there's anyone who doesn't like Brian. It's hard not to like someone who is quiet, humble, and kind. There's nobody in the world that I like more than him. 
4. He's consistent.
The same things that will frustrate him one day will certainly frustrate him the next day too. I've now got a pretty good grasp on the fact that I shouldn't bake a cake while he's anywhere near the kitchen, or sit an empty glass in the sink, or go tinkering with any technology-related thing in his house. I can appreciate consistency. 
3. He's passionate.
About his cars, his fish tanks, his pool game, his art work. He is the #1 reason behind my decision to go back to school, to attempt cake decorating, to start a book club, and to develop my writing. It's not just because I know I have his support, it's because he sets an example for me by the way he chooses to live.
2. He doesn't judge (me, or anyone else).
Not for eating three servings of dinner. Not for wanting ice cream after eating three servings of dinner. Not for opening the refrigerator to examine its contents after eating ice cream and three servings of dinner.
1. He is steadfast. 
You've probably heard it said--still waters run deep. Brian is a man of few words. He often seems unfazed by circumstances, news, gossip, my personal drama, etc. I constantly struggle not to view this trait as disinterest or apathy. Since I personally have strong reactions, it's hard for me to understand that some people don't. For me, everything is the end of the world. For Brian, nothing is the end of the world. It's taken me a long time to view this in a positive light. I often hate that I can't quite tell what he is thinking. Or hate that he doesn't share with me his every thought. Only recently have I realized that this trait can be admirable and I should be thankful to have such a strong, steady boyfriend. If we both shared my roller coaster of emotions, that would be one hell of a short ride. 

Other notable things I love (because I couldn't keep it to only five)
His hair. I love his hair. His curls that grow straight up.
He can be mischievous.
He's the worst speller in the world.
He puts up with me. At my worst.
He's saves my notes--the little messages and poems that I'll leave for him around the house. Even the ones that are as simple as "Tomorrow's St. Patrick's Day, Be sure to wear green! You're the most handsome man I've ever seen!" I love writing him those notes, but I love even more the fact that he saves them.
He'll read this blog post. And every blog post. And I love him for that.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Shaking in my Boots

I had a cake assignment last week for a friend's birthday party. I actually volunteered myself to make the cake. I'm not quite to the point where people are hunting me down and asking me to make them a cake. I'm still at the point where I hear that there is a celebration and I volunteer my own labor in order to get some much-needed practice.

When trying to think of a creative idea for the cake, I set some criteria for myself:
-must be a challenging project
-must represent the individual
-must not require fondant (I have yet to learn the art of fondant)

Lindsay is a southern...belle? Okay, wait, no. She is a cowboy-boot-wearing, often loud, always crazy girl with a thick southern accent. I know she has spent many weekend nights at the Longbranch and the City Limits Saloon. The only ideas that came to my mind for Lindsay's cake incorporated her country roots. I came up with the cowboy boot idea fairly quickly.

It was challenging because I had never carved a cake, I knew that the reddish-brown color I wanted for the boot would be hard to achieve, and I figured the edges of the boot's heel would be hard for me to smooth.

I was so nervous that I was shaking in my boots the entire time I baked and decorated this cake! The cake, of course, is fragile and I knew at any moment I could ruin it.

Luckily, everything turned out fine and I was pleased with the results!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Guys and Girls

In my physics lab, all the students typically sit in the same seat every week, so I'm usually working with the same group of students for each lab. Well today, someone extra sat at our table, so that when it was time to split up into groups, we had an uneven number. The TA asked that one student volunteer to go work with a group of three guys at a different table. Because I enjoy meeting new people, and I figured that working with a group of three guys would be to my advantage (considering this is physics), I quickly jumped up and volunteered myself.

As I worked diligently on the lab, the group's conversation went something like this:

Guy 1: "Dude, would you rather fight to the death, using only your bare hands, 1,000 zombie first-graders or a bear with sharks for arms?"
Guy 2: "Probably a bear with shark arms."
Guy 3: "No way, man. Not the bear with shark arms. You wouldn't stand a chance."
Guy 1: "I would totally demolish the zombie first-graders. My strategy would be to kill one of the zombie first-graders and then swing that zombie around like a weapon, knocking out all the other zombies."
Guy 2: "Have you played Call of Duty Zombies? There is no way you could defeat 1,000 zombies. Not even with machine guns. Definitely not with your strategy. The shark arms on the bear would probably just start eating the bear anyways."
Guy 3: "The shark arms would not eat the bear. Centaurs don't eat the horse half of their body. Why would the shark arms eat their bear body?"
Guy 2: "You can't compare the centaurs to the bear shark. I still wouldn't choose the zombie first graders."
Guy 1: "Kelly, have you decided what you would rather fight to the death?"
Me: "Nope. I'm still trying to decide why I ever thought it would be a good idea to join a group of three guys."

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Not Much Has Changed

Erin, Ame, and I have been best friends since the 6th grade. Long story short, I overheard Ame and Erin talking at church about having a slumber party to celebrate Ame's birthday. If I'm not mistaken, I invited myself to her party. It's not that Ame and I were friends (we were not friends at all), but I was looking for something to do that weekend.

From our very first picture, it looks as if we had been friends for years. Nope. It was more like friends for a few short hours....

Ever since that night.... 
We have fought (well, Ame and I have fought). 
We have laughed (we mostly laugh). 
We have wept (usually regarding boys or parents)
We have talked (the whole entire night). 
We have celebrated (birthdays, Christmas).
We have loved (each other through it all). 

After all these years, we still look pretty much the same. 

And we definitely still act the same. In a word: ridiculous. 

Ame keeps our conversations interesting and....well...inappropriate. 
Erin is our sounding board and is always there to give the best advice.

Erin and Ame are like two puzzle pieces that don't fit together at all. And there I am--the middle puzzle piece--connecting the three of us.

That puzzle analogy just took me five minutes to think of. I'm extremely proud of it. 

Our conversations around the bonfire Friday night, which jumped from menstrual cycles, to sex, to marriage, to relationships, to just about every topic imaginable, reminded me that after all these years...

not much has changed. 

Y'all are still my best friends.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Power of a Praying Woman

I thought I was being really smart to order my new book "The Power of a Praying Woman" on Amazon instead of buying it at Barnes and Noble.

Well, I did save money, but I also ordered the wrong book.

Mine is an interactive workbook, which is fine. It will totally work for the purposes intended.

The purpose being I wanted to spend a few moments each day in prayer, so that God would restore my heart and mind. Basically, I need an attitude adjustment! I know I need an attitude adjustment, as I am becoming completely consumed and overwhelmed by my life.

The bible study is a quick (20 minutes) daily prayer and reflection that references verses and applies them to my life. I've been doing the study first thing when I wake up and I can honestly say that it improves my attitude throughout the day. The first lesson was Praying to Become All God Made Me to Be. The second lesson was Praying for a Life-Trasforming Walk with God.

As part of the study, I was supposed to identify any fear, anxiety, or hopelessness in my life and ask God to free me from it. For me, this was extremely beneficial as I realized it is the fear I have about the future that is causing me to feel overwhelmed on a daily basis.

Some of the fears I identified?
-Fear that I won't get into dental school
-Fear that I wasted money attempting to get into dental school
-Fear because I already have about $20,000 debt to my parents
-Fear because I will be consuming (a lot!) more debt
-Fear of Brian's disappointment in me
-Fear of change
-Fear of regret
-Fear that I won't make good grades
-Fear that I am not on the right path for my life
-Fear of choosing the wrong career
-Fear of becoming a dentist and fear of not becoming a dentist
-Fear of failure
-Fear for the future of our country
-Fear for my future children's future
-Fear for the health of people I love
-Fear that I can't please everyone

All these fears, in some form or another, are constantly invading my thoughts and preventing me from fully placing my trust in the Lord.

What fears do you have? Maybe your list isn't as long as mine, or maybe your list could go on forever.

"Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?"
Matthew 6:26-27

I hope everyone has a happy, worry-free week! Enjoy the sunshine!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Lack of Facebook Update

About a month prior to the new year, way back in December (is it really March 20th?!?!?!), I deleted my Facebook account.

Point being I needed a break from Facebook and I needed less distractions from school.

It was going well. I was going strong. And other than signing on for a few seconds one time to access some of my old photos, I hadn't needed or missed Facebook. Occasionally I would have to check out Brian's Facebook or my sister's Facebook for some reason, but overall I felt like this resolution was going to be fairly easy.

I have no good explanation for why I reactivated my account. There I was. Sitting at my computer working on a Physics lab report, when I just went to Facebook, typed in my login and password, and immediately received a "Welcome Back!" email from The Facebook Team.

And now it looks like I have a lot of catching up to do.....

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Feeling Convicted

I felt convicted yesterday as I read this post from the "I Am Mommy" blog.
Side note--I'm fully aware that you are judging me right now for reading the "I Am Mommy" blog in the first place.

These words resonated with me all day:

"I want my blog to be a source of happiness, honesty, and inspiration... not me complaining about every single little things that goes wrong.  And when I feel that critical spirit encroaching into my speech and thoughts, I try to limit my interaction with the world."
While I definitely want my blog to be a source of happiness, honesty, and inspiration, more importantly, I want to see those qualities in myself. 
Between working busy days at the bank, the work load from school, and doing a million other things each day, my blog has taken a back seat lately. It's probably for the best. I have been filled with negative emotions that I can't seem to shake, which is completely unacceptable. 
Life is too short to be anything but happy. 
Some things that make me really happy?
 My friends. What would I do without you? 

My coffee creamer. What would I do without you?
I'm going to make a more dedicated effort to be my happy, smiling, cheerful self--in my real world and my virtual world. My best self
I know no other way to go about this other than turning to God--the only source of true happiness in the entire world. I recently purchased a book called The Power of a Praying Woman. I'll let you know how it is! I know that setting aside time each day to thank God and pray always puts me in a better mood. But much like exercising, I know it is good for me, but I still don't have much motivation to do it!
Please bear with me these next few months (and hopefully these next four years) if I moan and gripe about how stressed, overwhelmed, and exhausted I am.
And know that I'm trying not to complain.
"Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear." Ephesians 4:29

Sunday, March 13, 2011

I have homework.

I have homework.

I have homework that I'm not doing.

I have homework that I'm not doing because I have no motivation.

I have homework that I'm not doing because I have no motivation and I've decided that I'm going to move to an island in the Caribbean.

I have homework that I'm not doing because I have no motivation and I've decided that I'm going to move to an island in the Caribbean, become a bartender, and flirt with tourists all day.

Yep. It's decided. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Florida Keys, March 2011

As you will notice, most of our photos from this trip are pictures of me. My first attempt at using the camera on Saturday went something like this: "Why is this picture so blurry?"....(5 mins later)....."Brian, I can't figure out what's wrong with this thing!"....(2 mins later)....."This picture is blurry too"..."Brian, I think our camera must be broken." Needless to say, I'm no photographer. Unfortunately, that leaves only me to appear in most of the pictures, but I think Brian did an excellent job of capturing most of our trip highlights!

My favorite Bloody Mary at The Sunset Gril in Marathon. 

The Sunset Grill

The Sea Lion was my favorite animal at the Theater of the Sea.

View from across the canal

The Strawberry's house in Marathon, Fl

Hi Charlie!

The dolphin show at Theater of the Sea

View from the back patio

Sea turtles

This bird was so much fun and very entertaining!

Kisses from the sea lion

Me and my friend

This bird was not part of the Theater of the Sea, but it liked to hang around in hopes of stealing a fish from the sea lion. It didn't have much luck. 

Crossing the bridge to Islamorada

Proof that Brian was actually with me on this trip!

Monday, March 7, 2011

No-Fail Cake Recipe

I've been telling everyone that I made my first cake "from scratch," but here's my secret:

I'm slightly bending the truth.

This is actually no secret for those who know me well, and who know that I'm famous for fabricating.

Much like the story of Brian and I first meeting each other has had a few added embellishments by yours truly.
"Brian was involved with someone else at the time"...
"Brian was engaged when we met"...
"It was the day before his wedding"...
"It was the day before his wedding and he saved my life when I wrecked the beer cart."....

I mean, who doesn't love a good story, right?

It just sounds so much better to make a cake from scratch.

My go-to, no-fail cake recipe was given to me by my instructor Barbara. It tastes like a delicious store-bought cake. The recipe is adapted using a box cake mix, but has some extra add-ins that you will probably have in your kitchen already. It is easy, delicious, and perfect for someone who doesn't have the time or patience that made-from-scratch baking requires.

If you want the recipe, you can find it here. I promise you won't be disappointed!

Mi Vida Esta Loca

-My unaccepted (or possibly never delivered) application to The Daily Tar Heel was a blessing in disguise.

 -I'm currently bombarded with way too many things as is.

-My Spring Break has turned out not to be a break at all, as I am working everyday this week at the bank and have a to-do list at least a mile long.

-I had a nice long weekend in the Florida Keys. I'm pretty sure Brian and I only got in one minor disagreement--he argued that I should not donate any of my tax return money to charity. How nice of him. When I called him out on his greed, he claimed that he donated money last year to several nameless charities ("the cancer ones"). So generous, that one. I love you anyway :-)

-My blog has taken a back seat to the rest of my tasks these past couple weeks. Apologies.

-Today I am finalizing some goals for this month and the upcoming months as I trek through the final months of my pre-dental school journey.

-I sadly have not been keeping up with any of my regular blog reads.

-I'm proud of my newly developed baking skills, which I will be continuing next month as I take the Level 2 course, Flowers and Design. Tonight I will start posting regularly on my Cake Decorating site.

-If you're ever playing a game and asked who sings the lyrics "Pedicure on our toes, toes. Tryin' on all our clothes, clothes" and don't know that the answer is Ke$ha, remove yourself from underneath the rock you're living under. (Mom, your lack of knowledge is excusable. Amy, yours is not.)

If You Don't Like Something, Change It.